(CNN) -- A car bomb has exploded in the Syrian capital Damascus, killing at least 17 people and wounding about a dozen others, including women and children, according to government official.
Syrian security forces cordoned off the area after Saturday morning's bomb and were investigating, the official said.
Interior Minister Gen. Bassam Abdul Majid called the bombing a "cowardly" and "terrorist act" in an interview on Syrian television.
He said he didn't know who was behind the attack, but said the investigation "will lead us to the perpetrators."
The Syrian news agency, citing an official source, said the car was packed with about 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives.
The bombing took place near the Sidi Kadad Intelligence Headquarters, which houses a special unit responsible for Palestinian security and intelligence matters.
People in the area of the blast said it felt like an earthquake, in interviews by Syrian TV. Some said they were glad it was not a school day or the area would have been crowded with parents and children.
Video aired on Syrian television showed a bus with windows blown out and several other severely-damaged cars.
CNN's Pal Perry, Brent Sadler and Jomana Karadsheh contributed to this report.